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April 22, 2024


By Schizophrenic Chick

She ran down the corridors, dodging the bulk of cobwebs but unable to escape every wispy strand decorating the hall. Even in her fear she failed to consider cobwebs valid home decor. Possibly an opinion developed from growing up with a grandmother who pursued a vendetta against such trappings of filth. Now her grandmother lay rotting in the ground, adding to the same dirt which she detested.

Pushing thoughts of her beloved -- if anal -- grandmother aside, she dodged past another hanging web and muffled a shriek as she stared into the ivory face of a skull. Smacking the grinning fusion of bones aside, she continued to run towards the exit. It was ahead of her somewhere. She could sense nature and open air just waiting for her. Why oh why had she ever agreed to enter this house, this overlarge darkened hulk of a house decked out for Halloween?

Weeping cut through her frantic racing. Slowing to a walk she glanced around. Weak candles flickered and tossed shadows to and fro on the walls. The sobbing noise tore at her heart and rent her soul. How could a body bear up under such shattering grief? She remembered the sledgehammer effect of finding out her grandmother was dying of cancer. Her entire being felt shattered by the news.

Keeping a sharp eye out for the source of the weeping, she swatted aside more cobwebs. The amount of webbing was overkill. Grimacing at the thought, she paused by a shut door and pressed her ear against it. The wood might be thick as was typical in older homes, but the weeping slipped through the density. Holding a quick and furious debate with herself over whether or not to open the door, she shut her eyes and sighed. Of course she'd open the stupid door because her curiosity refused to let her do any less.

Turning the old-fashioned knob she pushed the door open slowly because her nerves jumped at the prospects that could be on the other side. Her jaw dropped open at the figure of a man hunched and crumpled in front of balcony doors made of glass. His shoulders shook under the force of his weeping while moonlight spilled over him. A benediction or a judgment perhaps. She noted his suit seemed cut from another era, his hair long and tied back in a leather thong.

If he was an actor he deserved an Oscar for his crying ability. Still, unable to witness another's pain without empathizing, she walked over to him. "Sir? Sir? Would you like me to call someone?"

He raised his face to her, revealing a once-handsome but now grief-ravaged face. The sight broke her heart. Staring at her for long moments, he seemed startled then decisive. "No. There's no one to call. Nothing to be done." He turned his face towards the balcony doors. "She's dead and her blood is on my hands." She thought his face wavered in the direct light of the moon spilling through the leaded glass of the doors. The idea was shook off as mere fancy.

Guessing the statement to be figurative since the moonlight didn't reveal blood on his hands, she moved closer to him. "Who's dead?"

"Kyrielle. She's dead and I killed her." He choked on another sob. "My daughter. My baby."

"You murdered your daughter?" Taking a step back, she glanced around the room for a body.

Rising to an impressive height of over six foot, the man glowered at her through red-rimmed eyes. "I did not murder my child. But I am guilty nonetheless of her death."

"Sure, dude. If you say so." Glancing around she failed to locate a body. "Where's your supposedly dead daughter?"

With a wave of his hand, he motioned towards the balcony. "She's out there." With that he crumpled back into his original position and began weeping again.

Giving him an amused glance, she wondered where such an actor could be found for a haunted house. Moving past him she opened the balcony doors and stepped out the stone balcony. Glancing over the railing, she gasped at the sight a body lying twisted on the paving stones below. The girl appeared no more than ten and her head twisted at an odd angle from her sprawled body. With the moon shining so brightly, the pooling blood became obvious as it spread from beneath the body.

"What a prop." Turning back to the doors, she inhaled sharply to see the doors gone, replaced by a brick wall. Confused by this turn of events, she ran to the wall and felt for any opening. As she plummeted towards the paving stones below, she remembered the house no longer had balconies due to safety risks. Then she remembered nothing at all.

Article © Schizophrenic Chick. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-11-13
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